When the latest Elvis Presley show took to the road, PRG XL Video were delighted to support Production Manager Peter Edmonds and supply lighting, video and rigging for the tour. 2015’s million selling album ‘If I Can Dream’, further strengthened The King’s inimitable reputation by giving him a number one album in five different decades. The tour used archive footage of Elvis, musical accompaniment by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and a personal appearance by Priscilla Presley, and gave many fans the chance they had not previously had—to experience the man who changed the course of music and went on to sell over a billion records around the world and cement his position as the biggest selling solo artist in history.
Lighting Designer Steve Sinclair is a veteran of the industry and perfectly qualified to light such an intricate and technologically innovative production. Steve explained: “The brief was straight forward, the main part of the show is the screen showing Elvis, and everything else has been designed with that in mind. We started off with the idea of having a cyclorama rear screen; a curved back wall with a projection screen and wash lighting. During rehearsals, it was decided that an LED screen would work better than projection, so we changed the back around a little. The lighting for this show has ended up being almost two separate rigs, one in the air and one on the floor lighting the orchestra. There are three trusses overhead, once curved one which follows the cyc screen and two standard, straight trusses further upstage. Lighting fixtures include the Clay Paky A.leda K10 LED wash light and the A.leda B-eye K20 high performance LED was and effects light. The key lighting product I used was the PRG Bad Boy, which is such a great fixture, because it’s so bright, I can get away with using less lights than if I had chosen a similar fixture, yet still get the same effect. SGM P5s were also used, as well as a host of Vari*Lite VL3000s and VL3500s.”
The lighting team were lead by crew chief Richard Griffin, with support from Paul Makin and Simon Swift. Richard said: “The load in and out for this show is really straight forward—the two straight trusses are pre-rigged in PRG BAT truss, it takes about five minutes to slot the bits together and get the truss in the air. The three days we had in rehearsal were great and put us on the front foot for the first show. The only challenge we had was to fit the floor lighting in around the orchestra, the initial plan was done without knowing the exact position of the musicians, so we had to do quite a bit of fiddling around to get the lights where we wanted them.”
The video crew were lead by Media Server Technician Clarke Anderson, with Director Dan Ormerod, Engineer Rob Fender, and LED techs Conner Camwell and Richie Jewel. Clarke explained the video element of the production: “The rear screen is ROE Visual Vanish 25 LED screen in full-width orientation, we’re using a ROE MC-7 screen in portrait format which displays Elvis and drops in and out on Kinesys. There’s one Barco HDX14 each side projecting a simple IMAG image. We’ve got three mini-cams on stage, two robo-cams and two manned cameras, one of which is fitted with a long lens and sits out at front of house by the consoles, the other Conner roams around the stage with. Playback is done through Grass Valley HD machines, all the video output is fed from a Barco e2 media server which composes and positions the content. It’s a simple system which works very well.”
Steve explained the concept for lighting the show was to keep it simple, but to have several big looks with subtle changes, very little light strayed from the stage into the audience. Steve used a Hog4 console to operate the lights and did some pre-programming in Longbridge during prep and took a WYSIWYG system on the tour with him. Steve added: “The tour sold really well and the crowd reacted brilliantly. When Elvis came on the screen they went wild, it was as though he was really there. I wasn’t really a fan of Elvis before this tour, but I certainly am now.”
Photography by PRG XL Video/Matt Rakowski.